The 2019 Cobell Graduate Summer Research Fellowship is now CLOSED.  2019-2020 Cobell Scholarships are now available until funds are exhausted.


Indigenous Education, Inc. promotes The Cobell Scholarship’s goal to provide applicants and inquirers with the most beneficial information regarding this carefully established scholarship opportunity.

Our History

Learn more about the history behind the Cobell vs. Salazar litigations and the ultimate example of unwavering dedication, hard work and victory against all odds.

Elouise Cobell

In 1996, banker Elouise Cobell became the lead plaintiff in a class action suit, demanding back payment and better accounting on Individual Indian Money Accounts managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Thirteen years later, the federal government settled for $3.4 billion, the largest settlement in U.S. history.


The Cobell Scholarship is administered by Indigenous Education, Inc. whose growing staff of individuals are committed to the overall success of the program and each awarded recipient.

Melvin Monette-Barajas President and Executive Director

Bridget Neconie Director of Scholarships and Programs

John Garland Director of Research and Student Success

Maloni Fox Communications Coordinator

Julia Mosconi Coordinator of Research and Engagement

Shea Gonzales A/V Coordinator


Indeed there is strength in numbers. Here is a look at some past and present strong recipients of the Cobell Scholarship. To suggest a student profile, email scholarships@cobellscholar.org.

January 2018

Name: KassaDee Merrill

School: Connors State College

Major: Nursing

Tribe: Cherokee Nation

My name is KassaDee Merrill and I am from Porter, Oklahoma. I am currently attending Connors State College, where I will be beginning the Nursing program in the fall. I look forward to working in the medical field and making an impact in other’s lives. I strive to meet my goals by maintaining a high GPA and reminding myself every day that all my hard work will in turn be so rewarding when I become a Registered Nurse. I encourage any young adult to pursue a higher education because it is one of the most important things you will accomplish. Higher education gives people the opportunity to have a more complete life. Being a Nurse will not only give me the chance to complete my life goal, but to help others lives as well. I would like to thank my family’s constant encouragement; it will never go unnoticed. I would also like to thank the Cobell Scholarship for the opportunity to help pursue the educational qualifications for my chosen career.

March 2018

Name: Nicole Walksalong

School: Walla Walla University

Graduate Studies: Masters of Social Work

Tribe: Blackfeet Tribe

Oki! My name is Nicole Walksalong and I am a member of the Blackfeet (Pikuni) Tribe. I’m currently finishing my Masters of Social Work with Walla Walla University where I have maintained a 4.0 GPA in my full-time studies while being a Mother to my four children including twin girls our family adopted in 2014. While in school, I have completed research on Indigenous children in foster care and traditional therapy techniques. I also volunteered my time and expertise to assisting with the implementation of the 4th ICWA court in the country in Yellowstone County. I also was featured as apart of a documentary for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and used story telling as a decolonizing tool after my Mother was murdered in 2015 by two white Supremacists. Being a Cobell Scholar holds a prominent level of importance, respect and honor. Achieving a higher level of education breaks down barriers in many areas, honors my family and the Blackfeet Nation and shows my children that anything is possible. After graduation, I plan to continue helping Indigenous families who are dealing with mental health issues, child welfare issues and decolonizing efforts for best practices in the Native American culture. Thank you!

May 2018

Name: Dustin Barr

School: Truckee Meadows Community College

Studies: Vocational Cobell Scholar

Tribe: Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe

My name is Dustin Barr; I am enrolled with the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of Northern Nevada. I am an honorably discharged veteran of ten total years, 4 years in the Marine Corps, and 6 years Army. I am currently pursuing my AAS Degree in HVAC at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada where I reside and I am set to graduate this Spring. I am excited for this opportunity. I have a son who is 15 years old, and a daughter who is 9. I lived on the reservation for a number of years, throughout my adolescence and early adult years. I left the reservation in 2003.

To me higher education is more than just landing a great career to make a decent living. It is also giving back to your community as well. To me, being a productive member of society shows the outside world that Native American people can overcome adversity and be just as competitive as everyone else is. Another aspect or trait that this opportunity has shown me is leadership. A lot of young people as well as adults are looking up to people like us to represent our tribes in a world outside the reservation, as there are not a lot of opportunities on some of our reservations. I have gained a lot through my experiences in life and look forward to gaining more from this opportunity. I am forever grateful for the Indigenous Education, Inc.’s Cobell Scholars Program for giving me a chance to be the person I want to be, for personal development, my children, my tribe, and my community! Thank you very much.

February 2018

Name: Ivan MacDonald

School: University of Montana

Graduate Studies: Masters of Social Work program

Tribe: Blackfeet Tribe

My name is Ivan MacDonald, and I am a registered member of the Blackfeet Tribe, in Browning, MT. I currently attend the University of Montana where I attend graduate school. I am in the Masters of Social Work program, and in May 2018 I will graduate with an MSW and LAC. I am a research assistant at the University, and study re-entry needs for Native American women at the Montana State Prison, in Billings. I am also a member of the Native Youth Suicide Coalition Group which was created to address suicide in the state. Lastly, I am the tribal liaison for the University of Montana School of Social Work’s 2+2 program, which helps students from tribal colleges obtain their BSW’s. Growing up my parents taught me that higher education was a way to not only help myself have a better life but those around me. When I graduate I plan to work with Native American and Indigenous people. It means a lot for me to be awarded this scholarship. Elouise was from my tribe and I hope to carry on her will to fight for Native people and to make all of our lives better.

Frequently Asked Questions

For all other questions that are not answered here, please email scholarships@cobellscholar.org.

2018-2019 Frequently Asked Questions: Graduate Summer Research Fellowship

2018-2019 Frequently Asked Questions: Applying

2018-2019 Frequently Asked Questions: Eligibility

2018-2019 Frequently Asked Questions: Selection


Cobell Scholarship information is categorized into four (4) areas with a PDF for each area available for printing: Scholarship Program Myths and Facts, General Eligibility Criteria,  General Scholarship Application Information, and Information for Finalists.

The Cobell Online Application & Scholarship Information System (OASIS) also has an FAQ tab for applicant convenience.


The Office of the US Department of Education has a user-friendly informational website containing good information for students, families and community members.  Learn about preparing for college, the variety and types of available aid, qualifications for aid, applying for aid, and information about student loan management.  Click HERE to be redirected to their site. There’s also a useful glossary of terminology HERE.

The College Board has several good tools to help select a college, explore careers, pay for college, get into college(s), and guidance to make a plan.  Information about financial aid can be particularly useful; however, their entire site is recommended and can be accessed HERE.


Both Merit-based and Need-based, the competitive Cobell Scholarship is annual, non-renewable, and available to any post-secondary (after high school) student who is; an enrolled member of a US Federally-Recognized Tribe, enrolled in full-time study and is degree-seeking. Applicants must plan to attend or be attending any nationally, regionally and industry accredited non-profit, public and private, institution.

Applicants must be pursuing a vocational certificate or diploma, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral or professional degree, or certificate.

All Finalists must demonstrate an unmet need through a process that will be coordinated with the IEI staff. And, all Finalists will demonstrate tribal enrollment through a verification process that will be coordinated with the IEI staff.

Application questions and other comments can be submitted at the bottom of this webpage.

Verification Processes

A series of verification will be required from applicants who are chosen as Finalist after the review process is completed. The verification includes, but is not limited to: Financial Need Analysis (FNA), Tribal Enrollment Verification (TEV), proof of institutional enrollment (course schedule, etc.), copy of most recent transcript, and a high-resolution/high quality photograph of the applicant.


Many online resources are available and the Indigenous Education, Inc. staff will work to continuously compile and maintain this list of links that can provide applicants with the most helpful information possible.

To suggest resources for this page, email information to scholarships@cobellscholar.org

Cobell Scholarship Official Blog

Indigenous Education, Inc. Webinar Series

The Indigenous Education, Inc. Wellness Series is a great tool to help improve your educational experience. Webinar topics range from grad school test prep, to FAFSA tips, to Cobell Scholarship Application Guidelines. New webinars will be shared roughly every month – stay up to date with coming IEI webinars by following the Cobell Scholarship Facebook Page.

Financial Aid Resources

Federal Student Aid – Find out how to complete the FAFSA and maintain your federal student aid profile.  Great resources for families as well as individual students.

The American Indian College Fund – The American Indian College Fund provides scholarships to students attending Tribal College and University students, and undergraduate and graduate students attending any other accredited public and non-profit private college all across the United States.

The American Indian Graduate Center – The AIGC provides scholarships to American Indians and Alaska Natives pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees at accredited institutions as full-time, degree-seeking students.

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society – AISES provides scholarships to students and provides so much more in student leadership, mentorship, involvement and service.

Scholarship Opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native students is a resources page maintained by the federal Bureau of Indian Education.

Testing for College and Graduate School

The PSAT and SAT are administered by the College Board

The ACT suite of products and services can be found here

GRE – the Graduate Record Exam

GMAT – the Graduate Management Admission Test is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council

LSAT – the Law School Admissions Test is administered by the Law School Admissions Council

MCAT – the Medical College Admission Test is administered by the Association of Medical Colleges.

PCAT – the Pharmacy College Admission Test is a specialized test that helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges.

DCAT – the Dental College Admission Test is administered by the American Dental Association.

Other Resource Links

COLLEGE HORIZONS – is a pre-college program for Native American high school students open to current sophomores and juniors.  Each summer students work with college counselors and college admissions officers in a five-day “crash course.”  The individualized program helps students select colleges suitable for them to apply to, get admitted to, and receive adequate financial aid. Students research their top 10 schools; complete college essays, resumes, the Common Application, and the preliminary FAFSA; receive interviewing skills and test-taking strategies (on the ACT and SAT) and financial aid/scholarship information.

GRADUATE HORIZONS – a four-day workshop for Native college students, college graduates, and master’s students in preparing for graduate school (master’s, Ph.D. or professional school).

BIG FUTURE is a program of the College Board designed to help students track their own path to college and career.

Study Public Health, Change the World – find out if Public Health is for you

The public health profession cuts across many different disciplines. Use the SOPHAS Academic Program Finder to search degree programs from over 80 schools and programs.

Pathways to Science is a project of the Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) . Pathways to Science supports pathways to the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We place particular emphasis on connecting underrepresented groups with STEM programs, funding, mentoring and resources.

Contact us at your convenience

The Cobell Scholarship Team is available to address any questions or concerns regarding the scholarship process or other related inquiries. Simply complete and submit the form below.

Indigenous Education, Inc.
The Cobell Scholarship
6501 Americas Parkway NE Suite 825
Albuquerque NM 87110

Direct: (505) 313-0032

Toll Free: (844) 551-0650


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